News 2020-06-23

Social enterprise aims to bring smarter irrigation to areas without electricity
Tyler Irving, U of T Engineering News, March 22, 2021

News 2019-06-24

Fish Farming Technology from CGEN Wins Global Invention Competition
Tyler Irving, U of T Engineering News, June 24, 2019

News 2018-10-18
News 2018-03-09
News 2018-01-29
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About WERL

The Water and Energy Research Laboratory (WERL) researches innovative engineering solutions for water and energy needs around the world.  This includes designing and optimizing technologies that can aid sustainable development in unique global contexts.  WERL is part of the department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering (MIE) at the University of Toronto.

Professor Amy Bilton

WERL is directed by professor Amy Bilton, who is an Associate Professor in MIE at U of T. She is also Director of the Centre for Global Engineering (CGEN), which leads initiatives that address challenges in food, water, sanitation, healthcare, and energy around the world.

Research Projects

Photovoltaic Reverse Osmosis Systems
Background For many remote off-grid communities, lack of access to clean water and reliable electricity are challenges for their economic development. Community owned and operated water systems powered by locally available renewable energy could be a step in overcoming these challenges. These systems need to be robust and cost effective in order to serve remote […]
Smart and Sustainable Aeration Technology for Aquaculture
Collecting a water sample from an aquaculture pond Aquaculture is a major food source in many low and middle-income countries (LMICs). Improving water quality for aquaculture can increase yields, improve food security, and reduce antibiotic use. In the developed world, aeration is used to significantly improve water quality. However, aeration is the third largest cost […]
Oil-Contaminated Water Treatment System
Our laboratory scale column filter loaded with our adsorption media. The pump, lower right, recirculates the oil-in-water emulsion, upper right, through the column filter. When treating water to remove oil products, removing small oil droplets is the most difficult. Current technologies are energy intensive or require disposable filters and are difficult to deploy in remote […]
Pico-Scale Hydro Turbines
This project has been outsourced to WERL by a Toronto-based company that is currently developing innovative pico-scale hydro turbine systems, used for energy harvesting in both water disinfection and pressure regulation applications. In the disinfection system, a generator coupled to the pico-turbine provides power to an electrochemical cell appropriate for drinking water disinfection. The system is […]
Passive Irrigation Controller
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations calculates that agricultural irrigation consumes 70 percent of our global fresh water supply, they further express that 60 percent of that water is then wasted before it is used by crops. An important cause of water waste is the inappropriate scheduling of the irrigation periods leading to […]
Ocean Current Energy Conversion for Powering Sensors
Many organizations which conduct oceanographic research, such as CSIRO, make use of electronic sensors for monitoring ocean conditions. At present, these sensors are powered by batteries, but this causes their deployment time to be limited by battery life. This limitation could potentially be overcome by harvesting energy from the environments surrounding the sensors. One such source […]
Sustainable Sanitation Technologies for Peri-Urban Environments
Peri-urban settlements usually lack water infrastructure and have inadequate fecal sludge management, and while onsite sanitation alternatives have been implemented in the past, adoption rates remain low and water-based solutions tend to fail in water-scarce regions. The use of dry toilets can mitigate some of the water limitations, but onsite treatment remains a challenge. By […]


Water and Energy Research Laboratory

Mailing Address

Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, University of Toronto
5 King’s College Rd
Toronto ON M5S 3G8




RS 108A

MY 794